Organization and methods

(1)     Organization of Administrative and Financial Services. At its 8th session (February 1950: CO-ORDINATION-PREP/R.176, item B.2) CCAQ considered a working paper on this subject (CC/A.8/5).

(2)     Common Premises and Common Services. At its 1st and 2nd sessions (1948: CC/A.1/2/Rev.1, CC/A.2/6/Rev.1; CO-ORDINATION/PREP/16) CCAQ discussed and, after revision, accepted certain UN proposals regarding policy and rates for the provision of UN services to the agencies. Rates have subsequently been revised from time to time after discussion outside CCAQ, among directly interested organizations. At its 15th session (1954: CO-ORDINATION/R.162) the Committee agreed that common services could best be achieved where there were common premises, but observed that complete integration of services was not necessarily most economical or administratively desirable.

(3)     Languages Service - Output Standards for Translation. At the second part of the 17th session (April 1956: CO-ORDINATION/R.224, sections B.11 and 12) the Committee decided to undertake a study of output standards for translation. The study, completed by ILO, was made available to the 19th session in 1958 (CO-ORDINATION/R.264, section 1.6).

(4)     Organization and Function of Management Services. CCAQ agreed at its 19th session (1958: CO-ORDINATION/R.264, section 1.6) that FAO should prepare a study on this subject. The study (CO-ORDINATION/CC.20/13) was presented to the 20th session (1959: CO-ORDINATION/R.295, para. 80), when the Committee agreed that it would be useful if the organizations discussed common management problems from time to time. A first such discussion was held in Paris in October 1961, at the invitation of UNESCO. A report on it (CO-ORDINATION/CC.23/8) was presented to the 23rd session of CCAQ (1962: CO-ORDINATION/R.391, para. 101) when the Committee agreed that a second meeting on management problems should be held in Rome in October 1962; special attention was to be given to exchange or loan of staff; work measurement and organization of secretarial services. A report on this meeting (CO-ORDINATION/CC.24/13) was presented to the 24th session of CCAQ (May 1963: CO-ORDINATION/R.430, para. 76), which noted its contents with appreciation. UNESCO was requested to agree with other organizations on a date for the next meeting.

(5)     At the 53rd session on financial and budgetary questions (September 1980: ACC/1980/32, paras. 42-44), the Committee considered a report by the secretariat of IOB on procurement systems, which also drew conclusions relevant to administrative activities as a whole. It agreed that there were areas in which comparative systems studies might repay the effort involved, and requested its secretariat to ascertain the interest of the organizations in a programme of such studies, aimed at the improvement of administrative methods.

(6)     At the 54th session (March 1981: ACC/1981/10, paras. 40-41), CCAQ(FB) reviewed the comments put forward by the organizations. It concluded that comparisons of systems were most useful when carried out directly by the organizations concerned and that this consideration, combined with the costs involved, militated against an inter-organization programme of studies of administrative systems at present; it was, however, prepared to encourage such studies in areas to which the organizations attached high priority and agreed to examine suggestions at the next session on financial and budgetary questions.

(7)     In the absence of such suggestions at the 55th session, this matter was not pursued by CCAQ(FB). However, at the 56th session on financial and budgetary questions (March 1982) the Committee discussed, as a possible administrative improvement, the idea of meeting various staff entitlements through lump-sum payments. It asked the CCAQ secretariat to obtain further suggestions on this matter for consideration at the next session on financial and budgetary questions (ACC/1982/6, paras. 36-38). At its 57th session (September 1982: ACC/1982/25, para. 36), CCAQ(FB) examined these suggestions. It agreed that organizations should consider possibilities of lump-sum payments of entitlements independently, informing CCAQ of their conclusions as appropriate.

(8)     At its 58th session (March 1983: ACC/1983/9, para. 98), CCAQ(PER) agreed that organizations would examine the possibility of making use of facilities which already existed and of facilities being installed by other services, in order to improve telecommunications between them and the secretariat. See section 20.5, para. 1, for related conclusions in CCAQ(FB).

(9)     At the 66th session (March-April 1987) CCAQ(FB) noted that JIU was envisaging a study of productivity improvement and output norms in the system, and discussed these plans with the inspector concerned. While the Committee had reservations about some aspects of the study, it agreed that CCAQ should concern itself, particularly during the current period of financial difficulties, with possibilities of improving productivity in the areas falling within its area of competence. It decided to provide in its future agendas for extensive discussions in which information on increases in productivity and reductions of costs in administrative processes would be exchanged among the organizations. The subject to be considered at the next session was to be programmed in advance by the secretariat to enable organizations to send specialists in the area selected or to permit regular representations to be appropriately briefed (ACC/1987/6, paras. 39 and 40).

(10)     At the 67th session (September 1987) the Committee proceeded to an initial review of travel and transport arrangements and procedures. It was provided for this review with data on typical steps involved in the approval of official travel and the processing of travel claims, material on alternative procedures followed in some organizations and information on special measures taken or under consideration in individual organizations to reduce the cost of their travel programmes. Information was also provided on travel and transport entitlements. Among the matters studied in the course of the discussion were special arrangements with carriers and travel agents, the use of transportation purchase vouchers, combined travel request and claim forms, the use of lump-sum payments for certain types of travel, the purchase of tickets in soft-currency areas and standing advances to frequent travellers. It was agreed that these and other opportunities for productivity improvement called for an in-depth exchange of experience and ideas by specialists from the organizations' travel and financial services and that for this purpose an Ad Hoc Working Party on Productivity Improvement (Travel Arrangements and Procedures) should be convened in February 1988 (ACC/1987/12, paras. 37-40).

(11)     At both the 68th and 69th sessions (March and September 1988) CCAQ(FB) discussed the report of the Working Party. It endorsed the Working Party's conclusions and recommendations on the rationalization of work flows, the simplification of forms and more extensive use of computer processing in travel operations, and also endorsed or noted the conclusions and recommendations reached on other subjects (for details, see ACC/1988/5, paras. 35-40 and annex IV and ACC/1988/13, para. 48). Taking the view that it was essential that the organizations pursue their efforts to increase productivity, it went on to decide that another working party on productivity improvement should be constituted - with UN and UNDP as lead agencies - to examine the area of transport and removals (ibid., paras. 49-51).

(12)     In the light of its examination of computerization of administrative operations related to travel (see para. (11) above) CCAQ(FB) at the 68th session concluded that there could also be productivity benefits from pursuing the subject of systems innovations in financial and administrative services, through the exchange of information on innovations in one organization that might be adopted by others (ACC/1988/5, para. 40). (The secretariat later invited the organizations to provide descriptions of systems or sub-systems which they considered might be of wider interest.)

(13)     The report of the Working Party on productivity improvement in the area of transport and removals was considered by CCAQ(FB) at the 70th session (March 1989). The Committee agreed that it would return to the report after the specialized services in the organizations had had the opportunity to examine the conclusions and recommendations and determine the most appropriate action (ACC/1989/7, paras. 51-53).

(14)     At the same session the Committee reviewed information from two organizations which indicated that their arrangements for lump-sum payments for home leave and other types of statutory travel had received a favourable response, were in general working satisfactorily, and had not given rise to negative reactions from Member States. One organization (UNIDO) calculated that savings in the 30 months to 31 December 1988 had been about $280,000, exclusive of administrative economies. During the session UNESCO and WHO indicated the action they were taking with a view to introducing lump-sum arrangements (ACC/1989/7, paras. 54-56).

(15)     The Committee returned to the above subject at the 72nd session (March 1990) and noted that arrangements for lump-sum payments for home leave, family visit and scholastic travel already existed, were being tried out or were likely to be introduced by UN (at Headquarters) and in FAO, UNESCO, WHO, UNIDO and IAEA. It was agreed that the secretariat should circulate descriptions of these schemes. The Committee considered the possibility of harmonizing entitlements under such schemes, but concluded that although that would be a desirable aim it might not be attainable, since each scheme needed to take account of the characteristics of the air travel market at the main point of departure (ACC/1990/5, paras. 42, 43).

(16)     At the same session the Committee took note of follow-up action reported by organizations on the conclusions and recommendations of the Working Party referred to in paragraph (13) above (ACC/1990/5, para. 45).

(17)     At the 75th session (September 1991) CCAQ(FB) noted that lump-sum payment schemes for home leave and related types of travel were now in operation in UN (Headquarters), UNICEF, UNDP, FAO, UNESCO, ICAO, WHO, IMO, IFAD, UNIDO and IAEA and were under consideration in some other organizations. FAO and IAEA were considering extending the arrangements to repatriation travel (ACC/1991/18, para. 51).

(18)     At its 80th, 81st and 82nd sessions (ACC/1994/5, paras. 57 and 58; ACC/1994/15, para. 31; ACC/1995/6, para. 42), CCAQ(FB) continued its regular discussions on productivity improvements in travel arrangements notably with regard to the use of lump-sum arrangements for entitlement travel, arrangements with travel agents and airlines, use of computerized systems for travel authorizations and settlement of claims, procedures for giving advances, and decentralization of decisions on travel arrangements.

(19)     At its 82nd session (February 1995), CCAQ(FB) supported the suggestion that a meeting of European-based travel of managers should be held (ACC/1995/6, para. 43), and at its 83rd session (August-September 1995), having received the report of the meeting, it concluded that such meetings on both a local and regional basis should take place regularly (ACC/1995/20, paras. 37-39).

(20)     At its 82nd session (April 1995: ACC/1995/5, paras. 152-153) CCAQ reviewed a proposal put forward by CCISUA in respect of the nomenclature of the categories of common system staff. The use of the term "International Civil Servant", as proposed, was not in question but the administrative and financial implications went much further. The Committee decided to revert to the matter on the basis of further proposals. ICSC agreed to revert to this issue on the basis of further work to be done by CCISUA, in close consultation with the organizations (ICSC/41/R.19, para. 384).

(21)     At its 86th session (April 1997: ACC/1997/6, paras. 118-120) CCAQ reviewed a suggestion by its secretariat for expanding inter-agency collaboration by the provision of more centralized services, for example in the processing of education grant claims. Various opinions were expressed and the secretariat was requested to study the matter further.

(22)     At its third high level meeting (February 1998: ACC/1998/CCAQ-HL/9, para. 11) CCAQ-HL discussed the management of information technology and concluded that the Information Systems Coordination Committee (ISCC) should be encouraged to take a more pro-active role and present CCAQ-HL with proposals for the strategic direction of information technology across the United Nations system. It requested ISCC to report on the interrelationships between the different bodies working on information technology with a view to combining the work of these bodies to the extent possible. CCAQ-HL also concluded that it was necessary to encourage the creation of the post of Chief of Information Technology by organizations that did not have one and for all organizations to evaluate the costs of custom tailored application systems as compared with the re-engineering of work procedures in order to use commercially available packages.

(23)     At its 88th session (April 1998: ACC/1998/5, para. 45) CCAQ expressed support for the work of the secretariat, in collaboration with ISCC, on a CCAQ web site to upgrade access to information and documentation through the Internet.

(24)     At its 89th session (July 1998: ACC/1998/9, paras. 51-53) CCAQ was given a demonstration of work under way to develop web sites for CCAQ and other ACC bodies and to permit the processing and recording of education grant claims. CCAQ expressed appreciation for the collaborative work on the project and encouraged its secretariat to pursue initiatives in the area, recognizing the potential for the CCAQ web site to serve as a clearing house on best practices in human resources management, etc.


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